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Unboxing: July YumeTwins

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And so, as predicted, my July YumeTwins box arrived in record time. Typical! At least this means it’s safe to order new subscription boxes, something I’d been putting off doing whilst the post was so unreliable!

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The theme of July’s box was ‘Work kawaii, play kawaii’! I did feel like the items in this box didn’t really fit the theme, and it did seem like just a bunch of random items put together. One of the items, the ‘mystery plushie’, just felt like it was in there to get rid of stock.

As you can see from the photo, the ‘mystery plushie’ was very prevalant in my box – Donald Duck staring at me as soon as I opened it.

 

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I’m not the biggest Disney fan, I would have much rather had a Sanrio plushie, so immediately I was feeling a bit miffed. This is potentially one item I’ll be selling as I don’t really see a space for it in my plushie collection, but we’ll see. It might grow on me.

 

 

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My next item was a Splatoon x Sanrio cup. I’m not a fan of Splatoon, having never played, but obviously I do like Sanrio. I’m not sure where My Melody rates in my Sanrio league chart, obviously I would have preferred a Pom Pom Purin one, but this isn’t so bad really. I like pink at least!

 

 

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So far, not particularly work or play themed. Up next was an Animal Crossing sticker. It’s really cute, and I do like Animal Crossing but I don’t have anywhere to put the sticker. I’m giving the sticker to a friend who I know will appreciate it a lot more than I will!

 

 

I also got the above, which, though very cute, I have no idea how it fits with the work/play theme. It’s billed as a ‘pocket surprise towel’. I think the character is Tokage from Sumikko Gurashi (feel free to correct me in the comments!), which I don’t feel strongly about either way, but it is pretty cute so I’m not too bummed out about it (though, again, Pom Pom Purin was an option, so sucks to be me I guess).IMG_7354

 

Finally, this Gudetama mousemat. Probably the only thing in the box that fits the theme. It’s pretty practical too, as now I’m working from home I do use a plug-in mouse for my work laptop, so I’ll definitely get use out of it. Again, the options were Gudetama or My Melody, and out of the two I definitely would have preferred My Melody, which is pretty typical of my items in this box.

 

What did you think of the items in this box? Do you think they fit the theme?

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fire Emblem Three Houses – Cindered Shadows DLC

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The main reason I got my Nintendo Switch was to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Sure there are other games that interested me, but I just really wanted to play Three Houses. Of course, it had been out a good 5 months when I got my Switch, so far too late for a review, but needless to say I enjoyed it.

My logic is somewhat flawed here, as evidently from the title this is a review of the Cindered Shadows DLC, which came out on February 12th, which is well over 5 months ago, but hey! Folks on Twitter said they didn’t mind reading reviews of older releases as it helps them decide whether to buy or watch something, so I’m pushing past the apprehension of writing reviews for older things and just doing it!

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Cindered Shadows is the first set of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and brings with it a new route and four new characters in their own house; the Ashen Wolves. The premise is that the Ashen Wolves live in Abyss, an underground town below Garreg Mach.

The whole campaign takes around 8 hours to complete and spans 7 chapters. Each chapter completed in the DLC nets you a benefit when you play the main game again, from Abyss becoming explorable to one of the four new characters becoming recruitable, and bonus items. Each character also comes with its own class which will also be available during the main game.

To assist the Ashen Wolves with their quest, the main game house leaders are sent along with Byleth, and bring along with one member of each house for assistance. The choice of characters for Blue Lions and Black Eagles is a bit strange, I won’t divulge who, but I would have thought it would make more sense to have different characters, given their roles within those houses. I have only played Blue Lions to date, so playing with characters from Black Eagles and Golden Deer was cool, and a good taster for playthroughs I have ahead of me.

Gameplay is obviously the same process as in the main game, but it’s much harder. I found there were some severe difficulty spikes as well, with many of the requirements for battles feeling borderline impossible at times. In my Blue Lions playthrough I didn’t really have to redo many battles, but the same definitely cannot be said of Cindered Shadows. It’s a good kind of difficult as it makes you think much more strategically about how you’re playing and forces you to think about your choices a lot more each turn.

Cindered Shadows is well worth the money. It’s a completely fleshed out story of it’s own, and the four new characters are well developed and fit in well with existing characters. It was all I could do not to start up a new route in the main game immediately to recruit them over. For fans of Three Houses, Cindered Shadows is a must.

8 stars

 

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July Purchases

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True to my word in my last purchases post, I think I did pretty well in July! I see a lot of memes at the moment equating online shopping to the only bit of happiness available during lockdown, and whilst it is funny, it’s also true.

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My first category of purchases this month is games. I did go a little heavy on the games this month, I will say that. Catherine and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest I picked up preowned for a pretty decent price each, so I couldn’t really say no. Langrisser 1 & 2 was a really spontaneous purchase as I’ve never heard of the series before, or considered it in any way, but it was on sale and I thought, why not? I also bought AI The Somnium Files after it having been on my wishlist for many months. I’ve only heard good things about it!

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Next up, blu-rays. Or should I say, blu-ray? That’s right, this month I only bought one! That’s practically unheard of! I added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Tales from Earthsea.  

 

 

 

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And finally, what would a month be without buying some manga? I think this month I’ve actually only bought BL (no surprise there). I finished my collection of Ten Count (finally), and bought the new given volume, but I also bought Replay and Blue Flag, which I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get stuck into!

 

 

That wraps up July! I think I’m going to try and have another pared back month in August, but we’ll see! I have to go on full lockdown, not even leaving the house for supermarket shopping, as my nan is having an operation, so little deliveries might be the only thing that gets me through!

2020 challenges, Anime, Challenges

Anime August

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A challenge within a challenge! As I’m falling behind schedule on my #cs2020challenges, I thought I need to boost my anime watching. I’ve been playing a lot of games at the moment and neglecting my anime, and I do really miss it so I thought I’d focus on anime for a while, and who doesn’t love a bit of aliteration?

I’ve made a list of things I want to watch in August, it might be a tall order, but I’m committed! This is a combination of things that are already in my physical collection that are definitely overdue a watch. As there are 5 weekends in August, and a bank holiday, I’ve also got a small list of films, because I figured I could at least manage one or two films a weekend!

Here’s the list of series:

  • Beyond the Boundary
  • Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto
  • Kamisama Kiss
  • My Love Story
  • Norn9
  • Photo Kano
  • Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai
  • Seraph of the End (season 1 and 2)
  • Starmyu
  • Another
  • Re:ZERO
  • March Comes In Like A Lion
  • Beastars
  • A3
  • Days
  • Dive!!
  • K-On
  • Kings Game
  • Sing Yesterday for Me
  • Zombieland Saga
  • Made in Abyss
  • No Game No Life
  • Parasyte The Maxim

And films:

  • Anthem of the Heart
  • Fireworks
  • In This Corner Of The World
  • Lu Over The Wall
  • Mirai
  • Penguin Highway
  • Promare

What do you think? Can I make it through all of this anime?

 

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: July Recap

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Hands up if you can’t believe July is over! I’m publishing this on July 31st as I know I won’t get anything done towards the challenges today, and we’re 58% of the way through the year, which is unbelievable! This year simultaneously feels like it’s gone super slow and super quick.

Watch 40 anime

July end total: 16

I only added 1 anime to my list in July, but for August I have a special plan that I’ll be posting about tomorrow, and if all goes well, then this goal will soon be met.

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

July end total: 5

Cinemas have only opened today, so I was unable to add to this total once again! I also don’t know how I feel about going to the cinema just yet, so I’m not sure when I’ll be going.

Platinum 20 games

July end total: 10

Another good month for platinum trophies with four added; Danganronpa 1.2 Reload, Coffee Talk, My Name is Mayo, and Mr. Massagy. Some of those were great games, some…. not so much.

Read 15 books

July end total: 5

I finally finished Howl’s Moving Castle! I’m sad because I couldn’t get on with it and I felt like I struggled through it, because I love the film so much. It is very different to the movie, and I just couldn’t gel with the writing style. I’m glad I read it though, and now I can move on!

Finish 100 best movies

July end total: 2

Finish Naruto

July end total: 4 episodes

The increase here isn’t because I watched more, it’s because I couldn’t count in previous months.

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Unboxing: June YumeTwins

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Who could have predicted this? Apart from everyone, I mean. A mere week after my May YumeTwins box arrived, up rocks my June box. Subscription boxes are like London busses, or something. Anyway, terrible jokes aside, it’s a relief to be back up to date with my subscription boxes after the shipping nightmare. I do still have a July box to come, but I’m not expecting that for another couple of weeks or so. I may be pleasantly surprised on that estimate, but we’ll see! The theme for the June box was ‘Ghibli Night In’.

IMG_5747I mentioned in the last Unboxing post that food and drink items tend to be a recurring theme in subscription boxes, and the June box was no exception. I think the more subscription boxes and the more tupperware and bento boxes I acquire and sneak into the kitchen cupboards, the greater the risk of my mother killing me becomes. I’m hoping these Jiji tupperware boxes get a free pass for being so cute!

My next items, above, were both My Neighbour Totoro themed. The bag looks extremely out of proportion here next to the toothbrush, but I can assure you it isn’t the world’s smallest bag! It’s actually a pretty decent size, easily big enough for phone, keys, purse with room to spare. It’s definitely not an all the time bag, but I think for just nipping out, it’s fine! My lack of forward planning is clearly evident here as the Totoro toothbrush blends in with the colour of my coffee table perfectly, whoops! I’ll be using my new bamboo toothbrush to take on trips with me, so I don’t have to take my electric toothbrush and charger, a huge space saver!

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I seemed to have very good luck with my selection of items, as I got this Howl’s Moving Castle postcard print, which I am extremely happy about as it’s my favourite Ghibli movie!

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Lastly, I got this A4 clear folder with a scene from Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m trying to make an effort to keep all of my important documents together, so this will definitely come in handy for that!

 

 

That was everything for the June box! What was your favourite from the items I got?

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fairy Tail

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Fairy Tail follows the plot of the anime, set from around the end of the Tenrou Island arc to approximately the end of the Avatar arc. For the uninitiated, that spans around 160 episodes from about 122 onwards. You’re therefore much better off going into Fairy Tail with some knowledge of the property already, but there is an in-game encyclopaedia with plot reminders and a glossary of terms which will help familiarise the unversed. Though Fairy Tail does retread old ground, and for the most part does it very well, some points are skipped over for brevity and emotional depth is often lost as a result.

Read my full review at Push Square.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Distraint Deluxe Edition

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Available on: PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS
Played on: PS4

In Distraint you play as Price, a man who has the job of foreclosing on properties with overdue debts, and evicting tenants. Price’s dream is to become partner of the firm he works for, but as the events of Distraint show, that comes at a price (heh). Our protagonist is visited by the ghosts of his parents who beg him to change his ways before it is too late, and throughout the game Price is subjected to hauntings and various disturbing imagery to persuade him to change.

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Distraint is a 2D horror adventure game, where you progress by solving puzzles. Though relatively short at around the hour mark, Distraint tells a compelling story, and you get to witness Price change from ruthless to someone who feels remorse for their actions, and appears to genuinely change. The puzzles throughout are interesting and engaging, and though some can be hard to figure out, it’s not in a way that ever seems frustrating or like the game is trying to trip you up on purpose. There can be a lot of back and forth, however, as you need to take one item from one area to another, or trigger something in one part of a room and dash to another in a time limit. Sometimes this element gets a bit monotonous, but the game isn’t long enough to dwell on this issue for too long.

Distraint‘s sound design is pivotal to the whole game. Where its simplistic 2D art style don’t necessarily create a horror vibe on their own, paired with the game’s soundtrack you’re given something that feels eerie and creepy throughout. The music was what really got my heart racing, as at certain moments you’ll hear the screeching of violins or a high pitched noise, and it really creates tension and puts you on edge throughout.

The whole set-up of Distraint is one that makes you feel uncomfortable, from the walls dripping with blood, to the residents of a care home who are living in less than ideal conditions. Distraint makes you feel at one with Price’s moral dilemma and makes you live his pain, even if for the short time you’re playing it.

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Distraint can be played as a commentary on capitalism; Price spends his days reclaiming properties from those his higher ups send him to, but it is only his employers who benefit from this. Price himself lives in a run down apartment every bit as dreary and dilapidated as the ones he is reclaiming, another cog in the system working only to benefit the bigwigs above him. It’s definitely a game to give you something to think about, and stays with you long after you’ve finished.

There didn’t seem to be enough to Distraint to get me fully on board. The puzzles are fun, and the development of the main character is interesting, but somehow it felt it lacked depth and perhaps would have benefitted from being a longer game to flex this. The price tag makes this almost a non-issue; I paid £1.99 for the game, and with that you can’t really go wrong.

7 stars

 

 

Game Reviews, Games

Review: One Night Stand

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Browing the Playstation Store recently, I came across a lot of games that were under £5. I’ll admit, I did a lot of cross-referencing the games on PlaystationTrophies to see if they had platinum trophies, and how attainable they were, and I came across a few which I bought, one of which was One Night Stand. 

I paid £2.89 for One Night Stand on sale, but even out of the sale it’s £3.99. At that price, it’s a steal. I’ll do a Platinum Review of the game at a later time, it is why I bought the game after all, but I wanted to do a proper review first.

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One Night Stand has you playing as a male, waking up hungover in a girl’s room after, you guessed it, a one night stand. The game presents you with choices from the off, whether that’s replying to text messages, or looking around the girl’s room at certain things to piece together what happened the night before.

Depending on what you look at in the girl’s room when she’s out of the room, it unlocks dialogue options to talk about when she’s back. This then contributes to whether you get a positive, negative or neutral ending – for example, reading the notebook at the side of the bed and then bringing it up will not put you in the good books, as you would expect from invading someone’s privacy.

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The art style is really cool, like a sketched out image, and in pale, muted colours – the kind of muted colours you wish the world was in when you wake up with a hangover. I think the art style is really the defining feature of One Night Stand, and something that stayed with me thereafter.

Whilst there’s no gameplay to analyse, as such, everything does feel very intuitive. The game progresses through a series of choices made by the character as he struggles to piece together the previous night’s events, but it does feel realistic in terms of its content. Conversations can be clipped and awkward, as you would expect they would be.

I did enjoy One Night Stand. I played through it in about an hour or so, which given the price point isn’t too awful, albeit there’s not a lot of incentive for replay once you’ve finished. Though some of the endings are quite similar, there is a small mystery within to piece together which is a fun twist at the end of the game.

6 stars

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Unboxing: May YumeTwins

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Due to the good old ‘rona, shipping times worldwide have been totally ruined. Luckily, I hadn’t experienced many issues with this, except for my YumeTwins subscription box. I bought the May box back in April, and so I could get a free gift I bought a 3 month subscription. Unfortunately the box didn’t arrive in May… or June, and in fact came in July. I know this can’t be helped, and YumeTwins have amended their shipping as a result, so hopefully I won’t see this much of a delay with the remaining two boxes in my subscription!

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The theme for the May YumeTwins box was ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’, so as a huge Studio Ghibli fan I really couldn’t resist. Like my relationship with most things anime, there’s a sort of bittersweet feeling as I was meant to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum during my cancelled Japan trip back in March, but the sting is becoming less strong! I’m sure I’ll get over it one day…. maybe.

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Anyway, onto the goodies. The free gift that I mentioned was a set of Ghibli playing cards. This was really the reason that I signed up for the 3 month subscription, as I collect themed playing cards. I actually almost bought these exact cards when I was on holiday last year, so I’m glad I didn’t! The ones I got were My Neighbour Totoro ones!

 

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of things in subscription boxes tend to be quite food based. After just a few months of getting boxes, I have more bento boxes and chopsticks that I know what to do with. I’m not complaining though, they’re really cute! I got a bento box of Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and chopsticks! All of the options for the chopsticks had Jiji on, but the bento was between Totoro and Jiji, so I got a matching set!

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Carrying on the food and drink theme, I got a Totoro tumbler. The options here were all Totoro, but my one is yellow where the colours differed on the others. This fits me quite well, as I have a pastel aesthetic going on! Normally I’m a person who gets the biggest glass possible and drinks pints of water at a time, so this is a little smaller than I’m used to, but I think it will be a good glass for having an alcoholic beverage or two, or taking it on a picnic – it’s plastic so there’s no chance of it getting broken outside!

 

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Also in the box was this cute puzzle of Kiki. It’s only 150 pieces, so it won’t take me too long (although it has been a really long time since I did a puzzle, so who knows?). It’s really pretty, so I think I might even frame it when I’ve done it as it’s such a lovely picture!

 

And finally, the last item in the May YumeTwins box was this origami set of Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m not sure I’ve ever done much origami in the past, but in theory I think it’d be quite relaxing. I guess that remains to be seen, as some of these designs look quite complicated!

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That was everything for the ‘Ghibli’s Delivery Service’ YumeTwins box. Hopefully my June box won’t be quite so delayed!